Ranging from inspirational songs void of theological language to worship music imbued with overt religious messages, Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) has a long history of being ill-defined. Due to the genre’s flexible nature, many Christian artists over the years have used vague imagery and secular lyrical content to find favor among mainstream outlets. This study examined the most recent ten-year period of CCM to determine its ability to cross over into the mainstream music scene, while also assessing the impact of its lyrical content and genre on the probability of reaching such mainstream success. For the years 2008-2018, Billboard data were collected for every Christian song on the Hot 100, Hot Rock Songs, or Hot Country Songs in order to detect any noticeable trend regarding the rise or fall of CCM; each song then was coded for theological language. No obvious trend emerged regarding the mainstream success of CCM as a whole, but the genre of Rock was found to possess the greatest degree of mainstream success. Rock also, however, was shown to have a very low tolerance for theological language, contrasted with the high tolerance of Country. As such, it is reasonable to question whether Mainstream Christian Rock is even really Christian at all. 1
Carlan, Megan Marie, "An Examination of Contemporary Christian Music Success Within Mainstream Rock and Country Billboard Charts" (2019). Honors College Theses. 206.